Cat Cove Marine Laboratory

Aerial view of Cat Cove

The Cat Cove Marine Laboratory supports the aquaculture and marine biology programs at Salem State University. It is the home of the Northeastern Massachusetts Aquaculture Center (NEMAC). The mission of the Cat Cove Marine Laboratory is to develop research and technologies in aquaculture as well as increasing the understanding of marine organisms and ecosystems, through research, education, and outreach.

The primary goals of the Cat Cover Marine Laboratory are to:
A.    Promote marine science education for undergraduate and graduate students.
B.    Provide a research and development climate that fosters fundamental discoveries in aquaculture, marine ecological and environmental processes, and the biotechnological potential of culturing marine organisms.
C.    Communicate marine science to the general public and grades K-12 through outreach programs.
D.    Provide a base site for the Northeastern Massachusetts Aquaculture Center (NEMAC)

Cat Cove/NEMAC Researchers Establish First Atlantic Coast Offshore Mussel Farm in Federal Waters!

Cat Cove Lab view from Smith Pool

The Facility

The laboratory is housed on a 16-acre site on Salem Harbor near Salem Willows and Winter Island. On the site is an 8-acre tidal pond (Smith Pool), a main lab building with a 5,500 ft2 wet lab, an analytical lab, an algal culture lab, and a classroom.  More >


Clam Seed

Soft Shelled Clam Hatchery

Since opening in April 1999, the Cat Cove Marine Lab hatchery has produced in excess of 20 million soft-shelled, 'steamers', clam (Mya arenaria) seed. These seed clams have been transported and planted on sand flats throughout the state. Clam seed is provided to both municipal groups and private growers for commercial and public enhancement initiatives.  more >



Developing projects of the Northeastern Massachusetts Aquaculture Center (NEMAC) at the Cat Cove Marine Laboratory investigate the biology of regionally important shellfish (e.g., mussels, soft shelled clams, Atlantic scallops, and oysters) and finfish (e.g., flounder, striped bass, mummichogs) as well as environmental impacts of aquaculture.  Additional projects focus on marine biology and ecology of coastal Massachusetts. Recent Projects include: more ...

Cat Cove Marine Lab Classroom


In the classroom, the lab supports two academic concentrations in Aquaculture and Marine Biology within the biology department. Courses offered at the Cat Cove Marine Laboratory include: introduction to aquaculture, aquaculture methods, advanced aquaculture, fish biology, aquaculture internships, and underwater research methods. Salem State also offers a variety of graduate courses, primarily for teachers to fulfill both degree requirements and CEUs.  more...

Cat Cove Tour


Working with many North Shore schools, NEMAC has provided assistance in getting aquaculture facilities set up in schools to develop aquaculture science programs as well as using aquaculture to enhance science education. In addition many schools visit the Cat Cove Marine Lab to learn about aquaculture and marine science. more ... 

Cat Cove Live Web Cam

Live WebCam

Click on link to view a live web cam of a touch tank or screech owl nesting box (when occupied in winter)

View WebCam

Tools & Resources